November looms, and with it comes National Novel Writing Month. At this time last year I had heard only the most distant rumblings of NaNoWriMo, and had elected not to participate. At that time I was just beginning to gain some traction in my draft, and the thought of setting it aside to begin something new was inconceivable.
A year later, and here I am still working on the same draft, though I am far closer to the end than the beginning. Also more developed is my understanding of NaNoWriMo. In its purest form the challenge is to both start and complete an entire 50,000 word novel within the month of November, but in spirit, NaNoWriMo is about challenging yourself as a writer. To put your butt in the chair. Write words. Every day. Good words, bad words. Chip away at that daunting word-count goal like a mountaineer on the Khumbu icefall, deaf to the mutterings of that defeatist inner critic.
And perhaps, sometime about when all the good Halloween candy has run out and you’re down to the lollipops and chewing gum, you’ll hit a rhythm, and realize that you’ve created something. It might be a raw, shapeless thing, as ugly as something your dog dragged out of a ditch, but it will be a thing that did not exist before, and it will be all yours. Yours to hammer and fold, heat and temper and heat again, to use every artifice at your disposal to bring it to its final form.
So this November, I intend to participate in NaNoWriMo with the personal goal of completing my book. To do so will almost certainly require another 50,000 words, perhaps even more. (At present the draft stands at a bloated 359,000 words.)
This I do not consider to be an impossible task. To date, my most productive month of writing (March 2016) yeilded 40,173 words, and that was with a full thirteen days in which I did no writing at all (mostly weekends). I try to punch out 2,000 words/day when actively writing, which I frequently achieve, so the math all checks out. The challenge will be that little extra push, finding time on weekends or during the evening to put distractions aside and hammer out an extra 500 words here and there. I’m not deceiving myself; I know this won’t be easy. But if I can manage it, then I will have my thing, defects and all.
And it will be glorious. I’m game. Let’s do this.